Erie Vital Signs share positives and negatives about Erie

June 07, 2018

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Local non-profit leaders join together for a discussion about a program aimed at improving Erie.  

The information compiled for this program is extensive.  But, the idea is to use data, numbers, and trends to understand where Erie stands; what is improving and where we are falling behind.  

Nearly 70 leaders of non-profit organizations come together to discuss the recent findings.  Lead by the Erie Community Foundation, 'Erie Vital Signs' tracks indicators that measure the county's well-being in seven areas.  Within those areas, there are positives like air quality improvements three years in a row and access to healthcare increasing.  But, there are also negatives like household income declining and salaries being 22% below the state level.

President of the Erie Community Foundation, Mike Batchelor, says, "When you ask yourself, 'is progress being shared by all?'  That's a challenging question because there are people being left behind."  For example, according to the US Census Bureau, poverty is rising nationwide, but it's rising more rapidly in Erie County. Experts are pointing to early education to help change these statistics, but it's not as easy as it may seem."

The Vital Signs Report shows at the Erie School District, third-grade reading proficiency is only at 38%. 

The Sight Center works with students in the elementary schools that are a part of the Community Schools Model.  Studies are revealing more about visual-motor processing disorders.

Executive Director of the Sight Center of NWPA, Linda Hacksaw, says, "They may see perfectly clearly with the eyes, but then the eye then has to work with the brain, which then has to work with the body. So it's a whole process."

Hackshaw says nearly half the children at the center are showing deficiencies not knowing their ABC's or even their last names. "We put a lot of money towards eradicating poverty and lifting families out of poverty. As somebody mentioned here today, we're not making any strides that way."

Batchelor says he's hoping to identify others who are interested in working towards improvement.  "We're the Erie Community Foundation, we're trying to serve the entire community."

The foundation is encouraging the public to attend their annual meeting.  It's free.  You just need to RSVP.  You can call 814-454-4803.  

The event will be Thursday, June 14th at the Bayfront Convention Center.

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